Biden redoubles his commitment to the Indo-Pacific with 'Quad' summit

The intention is to strengthen ties with allies to confront the rise of China

AFP/ JIM WATSON  -   US President Joe Biden

A week after presenting the new Indo-Pacific defence alliance with Australia and the United Kingdom, the President of the United States, Joe Biden, is hosting the first face-to-face summit of Quad leaders with Japan, India and Australia this Friday at the White House.

Both alliances, one military and the other cooperative, demonstrate how the White House has put the strategic focus on the Indo-Pacific in its quest to reshape the balance of power in a region dominated by China, which has become Washington's main adversary not only economically but also politically.

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PHOTO/MARINA INDIA - Aircraft carriers and warships are participating in the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise, a joint exercise formed by India, the United States, Japan and Australia, in the northern Arabian Sea on Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2020.

Biden, who hosted a virtual Quad summit shortly after arriving at the White House, will host Australia's Prime Minister Scott Morrison, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Japan's Yoshihide Suga in Washington on Friday.

It will be the highest profile meeting since the creation of the Quad in 2007.

He will also hold bilateral meetings with Modi and Suga before and after the Quad summit, respectively.

Morrison and Biden already held a bilateral meeting on Tuesday, the same day the US leader hosted his British counterpart, Boris Johnson.

PHOTO/ARCHIVE - India, the United States, Japan and Australia, the four countries that make up the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or 'Quad'.

At the Quad meeting, Washington hopes to consolidate a number of initiatives, including the provision of COVID-19 vaccines to the region following the commitment made by the countries at the previous virtual summit to deliver one billion doses by 2022.

The leaders are also expected to discuss supply chain and technology cooperation, particularly in semiconductors and 5G telecommunications, a White House official said in a call with reporters.

In addition, a privately funded "Quad Scholarship" programme will be announced to allow 100 students - 25 from each country - to study at elite US universities each year for master's and doctoral degrees.

The consolidation of the Quad group seeks to bring America's Western partners up to speed with Beijing's military, economic and technological rise.